The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 6 December 2014

White Hill and Fair Snape Fell

After a cool night it was under fair skies that we set off this morning, for a couple of miles of tarmac. Admittedly, we could have parked at Cross of Greet, where we left the road, but to do so would have resulted in either an out-and-back or a significantly uphill end to our circuit. Far better, I thought, to park at the lowest point and start with the tarmac. With the road being so very quiet and the surroundings so lovely, the tarmac wasn’t a hardship.

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I knew, from internet reports of this hill, to expect bogginess on our way along the boundary fence, and bog is exactly what we got. Hampered we were, too, by the low sun blinding us, so that we couldn’t see where we were walking. I can’t blame the sun, however, for the incident that saw me lose my left leg up to the knee in a peat-boggy-wallow. That was because of a piece of heather completely hiding the entrance to this foot-sized hole. A bit of effort saw my foot extracted (complete with accompanying slurping noise); little did I know at the time that the mud covering my lower left side was nothing compared to how I would look later…

The summit plateau of White Hill is an interesting place with some pools and a chimney-like structure, as well as the trig point. 

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With the air clarity of Wednesday having returned, our views covered (amongst others lumps) the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and we drank them in for a while, before yomping off over very rough ground to pick up (eventually) a track which led us back to Colin at Cross of Greet Bridge. It was in amongst that roughness that (unusually ahead of Mick) I heard a commotion behind me and turned just in time to see Mick complete a forward-roll and spring back to his feet. He came up grinning, so no harm done, which seemed quite a miracle when he went back up the hill to show me the hole down which he had fallen and the distance of the resulting forward-roll.

Even with Mick’s acrobatics, we both agreed that we were glad to have walked the route in an anti-clockwise direction. It would have been hard work to have ascended our descent route (not to mention it would have required far more navigational attention than following a road then a fence!).

By the time we were in the final few yards of our descent, there was not a cloud to be seen…

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…which gave me a bit of a quandary in terms of where to go next. Clearly, in this weather, we needed to go up another hill, but the short days of this time of year suggested that (again) it would be cutting it fine to go to the next hill in my original plan and make it up and down before dark. Fair Snape Fell was the decision made, and off we headed to enjoy (or so we thought) an afternoon of wall-to-wall sunshine.

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We couldn’t help but notice the dark skies and approaching rain as we reached our next parking area, and lunch became a prolonged affair as we waited for the rain and hail to pass, feeling sure it was just a shower. Pass it did, and off we set in reasonably fair weather. It lasted until after Parlick* (apparently a very popular place, by the paths leading up to it and the massive pile of stones and shelter on the top, giving it the appearance of a major summit, rather than a pimple on a shoulder), but by the time we were half way to the trig point on Fair Snape Fell (which isn’t on the top), we were walking straight into a snow storm…

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…which was still going strong when we reached the summit proper. What you can’t see in this photo is all of the peat about my person. It was one of those foot-shoots-out mud-slides which saw me land with a big splat in a patch of bare peat and comprehensively dirty my newly-laundered jacket (well, and the trousers, but they’re old and of a colour that doesn’t show the dirt, so I didn’t mind about those so much). Between us, it was obviously the day for slips, trips and falls!

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The maps told us that our descent route involved a track, but the map was wrong (or, more likely, out of date), as that track is most definitely just a path these days. It was still an obvious, well-trodden line (in fact, for the first while it was a newly surfaced path), which Mick observed didn’t seem to be taking us in the right direction.

We were off the hill by the time we made the turn which saw us heading back in the direction of our starting point and by then the snow had passed. In fact, by the time we got back to Colin, it was difficult to believe the conditions we had been in up there an hour before:

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Both of today’s hills were visited by way of circuits, rather than short out-and-backs, so the stats for the day look a little healthier, at 5.6 miles with 1000’ of up for White Hill and 5.9 miles and 1200’ of up for Fair Snape Fell.

(*Given my other mishaps of the day, perhaps I shouldn’t admit that I was so busy looking at the view on the top of Parlick that I completely failed to notice the short fence post sticking out of the ground until I walked slap into it. Ouch!)

8 comments:

  1. I've just caught up with your blog...you're really setting about the Marilyn's with a purpose! There great aren't they? I like the randomness of them!
    Keep up the good work!

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    1. I'm certainly liking what I've seen so far, and they're already taking me places that I wouldn't otherwise have been :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. Funnily enough, I did think of you!

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  3. Blimey, I applaud your energy and determination to keep getting out there.

    I get a little bit out of breath just keeping up online.

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    1. It's certainly keeping me from getting bored (or getting into mischief!) for the time being!

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  4. All familiar territory for me. Parlick and Fair Snape were only a short drive from home when I lived in Preston and I had various running routes round them. I thought you would have climbed Ward's Stone to the west of White Hill whilst in the vicinity, but I suppose time and logistics dictate.

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    1. Ward's Stone was yesterday's hill, and will be the subject of my next post. I had originally thought to combine it with White Hill, but with a total round trip of 16 miles and unknown quality of terrain (causing me to err on the side of a 2mph speed), I feared that there wouldn't be enough hours of light in the day.

      As it goes, the order in which we have tackled these 'Section 36' hills looks to defy all logic (and bears no resemblance to the plan created before we left home), but there was method in our madness (I think!).

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